Daji the Fox

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172 posts. Alias of Kittenmancer.


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"Me name's Bokken, good m- elf! Bokken, yes. And you 'ave coin? Wonderful, most wonderful!" The hermit skitters over to a small wooden box, flipping the lid open and rummaging inside. He removes several vials stoppered with cork, squinting at each one in the light and sniffing them. He replaces a couple in the box, and presents five of the vials to Halrod.

"There ya go, curatives of various potency which I brewed meself from local 'erbs and other floral and, er... 'erbal plants and such. All nat'ral, no magick tricks or artifice."

Bokken offers for sale 2 minor healing potions, 2 lesser healing potions and a moderate healing potion, at regular prices. He also has a lesser potion of fire resistance and a lesser potion of cold resistance.

Linzi giggles as she takes in the interior of the hovel. "So rustic! Very charming house you have here, Bokken." Amiri is currently peering at a large animal skull that is serving as paperweight for a sheaf of scribbled notes, while Valerie looks like she's trying to not touch anything.

Turning back to the others, Bokken looks them up and down, taking in each person in the group. "And who might y'all be, ey? I can 'ardly remember when we've 'ad these many people tramping through this area. I won't ask yer business, I won't." Yet, his eyes gleam with curiosity.

The man narrows his eyes at Nidintu-Bel, pinning him with his scrutiny for several long moments before breaking the tension with a satisfied cackle.

"Not brigands? Then per'aps customers, ey? Looking to buy some tinctures, some potions, I 'ave very good potions, I do. Mix them meself." He opens the door wider, gesturing everyone inside. The space beyond the threshold is a combination of kitchen and alchemy lab, with a cauldron of stew bubbling over the fireplace, an alembic, and bundles of herbs hanging from the ceiling. The split log table is a mess of alchemical equipment and dirty plates and bowls, vials scattered among old crusts of bread and apple cores.

"Now, whatcha need? I have curatives and tonics, elixirs to deal with poisons, just don't ask me for love philters, I don't do those. And what 'ave you got to trade, ey? Stories are nice, but they don't fill the stomach, they don't. But, if you like, we can trade stories and news if my wares don't please you."

A clatter sounds from behind the door as Nidintu-Bel knocks on it, and several stomping steps before the door swings open and a human man peers out at him. The best way to describe the inhabitant of the hilltop abode is 'overgrown walnut'. His brown skin is so weathered by sun and wind that his wrinkles have wrinkles of their own - although he does not seem very old. His grey-streaked brown hair and beard are long, and neither have seen comb or brush in at least a decade. He looks up with dark eyes shadowed by bristling brows, and gasps.

"Away! Away with you, brigands!" the hermit croaks, his voice cracking with disuse. "I've nothing worth taking, and I wouldn't give it to you if I had!"

The group leaves the horses tied at the base of the hill and takes the footpath that snakes around it. As they approach the top, two things become apparent. The first to come into view are the cultivated patches of herbs, vegetables and flowers, their edges lined with stones and the occasional rickety wicker fence. The second thing is the absence of a campfire; the smoke seems to issue from the ground itself - which is very curious, until they walk around the next bend in the path to discover the entrance to a sunken dwelling, a burrow dug into the side of the hill. Besides the crude log door, a cleverly concealed smoke hole and several tiny windows covered with oiled parchment are all that indicates a habitation.

Linzi jerks her head up from where she is frantically scribbling on a piece of parchment containing a list of short lines, many of them crossed out. "I was just working on that! So, the first rule of adventuring band names, you need to have at least an adjective and a noun. Like, like... The Grey Company. Or, The Ironborn Sons." The bard taps her parchment with her pen. "I think both of those are important for you to figure out, but let's start with the noun. You don't strike me as crusaders, or knights, or a company - or anything very orderly and military-like. You could be riders, or guardians, or protectors, if you like. And while I wholly believe you are destined to be great heroes, it's a little... crass to call yourself that. That's a name you earn from the people you help, rather than one you take for yourself, eh?"

She winks at Roots. "Now, for the adjective. It could express a value you all hold dear, or a common attribute, or it could even be a place. For you, hmmm... You could be 'verdant', or 'chosen', or 'of the Greenbelt'. But, these are not hard and fast rules. Your name could be one word, or five. I'm sure something will come to you in time, something that fits and you will all be proud to bear."

Feel free to continue RP in spoilers.

After spending the night in the abandoned Fort Serenko, the fae packs sets out again early the next morning, leaving the road and cutting west across gently rolling grass plains. The horses definitely seem to appreciate the change, frequently stopping to nibble on the tender spring grass, or sticking their necks out and nickering, as if eager to stretch their legs into a trot or even gallop. Every now and then, a flash of movement across the open expanse of land marks the passage of a hare or other small animal. The air is sharp, and the sky is huge overhead - layers upon layers of fluffy clouds stretching into infinity between swathes of bright blue.

Nidintu-Bel's estimation proves accurate, and the lone hill he had sighted is reached just as the sun begins to approach the horizon. A thin column of smoke issues from its top, although no structure is in sight.

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At Fort Serenko

Amiri frowns towards the fortification, pointing. "Looks empty to me. No smoke from fires, no one on the walls." Linzi gasps, reaching for her pen and journal. "Do you think it's haunted? Some great battle not too long ago, a valiant last stand of the outnumbered garrison against... bandits? An army of undead? Pirates?"

Shaking her head at the halfling's overactive imagination, Valerie interjects. "There was no battle. Look, the walls and gate are intact, no scorch marks, no battlefield debris. No, if I remember correctly, the soldiers and scouts stationed here were recalled to Restov." She turns her head to look over her shoulder, towards the road they had taken to get here. "Tensions between Rostland and Issia have been growing, so the various factions are gathering their forces, I reckon." Her expression is closed, but she speaks as one with some familiarity with the matter.

Should the fae pack brave the not-at-all-haunted fortification, they do indeed find evidence that it was abandoned in an orderly manner. The main gate is chained and padlocked, but a postern gate towards the river is less guarded, and with a bit of persuasion opens to allow access to the interior. Within the walls, a multi-level wooden keep served as both barracks, mess hall and office. There's also a small stable and several storerooms, all empty. Moss and lichen has begun to grow on the walls, and weeds choke the courtyard.

Inside the keep, the rough wooden furniture is still there - bunk beds, benches and tables, but all personal items and comforts have been removed. In the kitchen only the stone fireplace remains, and the holes in the walls where once iron hooks held pots, pans and other cooking implements.

A suggestion was made to leave the road and cut straight west towards Oleg's Trading Post. Let me know if there are objections to that plan.

No worries, take care of what's important first. The game will still be here. :)

And happy first month of life to your daughter!

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As Nidintu-Bel looks for Halrod, he finds the elven archer engrossed in conversation with Maegar Varn, the leader of the Varnling Host, whom they had met the night of the feast. The swordlord raises a hand in greeting as he sees Nidintu approach, a broad smile on his face.

"Hail, friend, and good to see you!" He points a thumb behind himself, at the inn. "Their offerings do not compare to Lady Jamandi's most excellent fare, but it isn't bad for a place at the edge of civilization."

A group of four exit the inn, looking around until they spot Maegar Varn. They are clearly part of his Host, as they all display the same black and silver theme in their attire. A tall Ulfen woman, her sleeveless hide tunic trimmed with silver fur showing off her well-muscled arms, is whistling a tune off-key, much to the annoyance of the warrior at her side who winces at every discordant note. The portly, elderly man behind them wears simple woolen robes layered with a thick shawl around his shoulders, and is currently busy stuffing several links of cured sausage into an already-full leather satchel embroidered with the symbol of Erastil. The last of the group is an almost dandyishly dressed half-elf, with his long, flowing hair shining in the midday sun as if freshly washed and oiled. An equally resplendent pigeon is preening in the birdcage carried by the man, its crest of black feathers flaring behind its white head.

"Ah, here they are." Maegar Varn inclines his head to Halrod and Nidintu-Bel. "Our ways part here, quite literally. We are taking the south road towards what soon shall be our new settlement, Varnhold!" His enthusiasm is obvious, as is his eagerness to get on the road again. "I believe you are continuing west? I wish you safe journeys, and good luck with your endeavours. Send me a line once you get settled, or even come visit! You will always be welcome in Varnhold." With another broad smile, he takes his leave, joining his companions in mounting their horses and turning out of the inn's yard and onto the south road.

Feel free to continue any conversations and introductions between PCs. If anyone is mount-less, the inn has horses and tack for sale.

The inn offers simple fare indeed - chunky, homemade brown bread speckled with pumpkin seeds, a mushroom, carrot and onion stew, and a weak, watery ale to wash it all down. After a meal at one of the communal tables, elbow to elbow with farmers, tradesmen and merchants, the fae pack - now counting several additions - is ready to take the road again.

The latter half of the day is uneventful, and those unaccustomed to much riding are starting to find their groove as their mounts' steady pace eats away at the distance. By the time dusk begins to fall, a squat wooden fort is visible ahead. Those familiar with the area, or with maps thereof, know it to be Fort Serenko, a fortification that has stood for years on the southern border of Brevoy.

The following morning, the fae pack gets on the road once more, following the sun towards their destination. This early in the year, there's still a chill in the air, and the sunlight is thin and watery, barely warming. Leaves are starting to bud on the trees lining the road, and snowdrops and crocuses peek through the melting snow. The horses' hooves plop noisily through the mud of the road, making sucking noises as they come free.

The few other travelers on the road tend to head in the opposite direction, towards Restov - mostly farmers and herders going to buy supplies, or food to last them until the next harvest. In these parts, this is the leanest time of the year, when the provisions set for the winter have all but dwindled away, and the next crop of turnips or winter cabbage feels very far away.

A few merchant caravans are heading the other way, towards New Stetven, taking advantage of the fact that the road is now open and free of snow. They glance curiously at the fae pack as they pass by, and their guards tighten their grip on their weapons.

Just before noon, the village of Nivatka's Crossing comes into view, a few dozen houses huddled around a sprawling inn. Here, the road forks south, crossing the Shrike River and cutting through a line of hills into Dunsward and the Nomen Heights. The inn's courtyard is bustling with travelers and locals alike. Stablehands are just leading a half dozen war horses out of the stables, their tack all black leather and silver thread. A little distance away, a harangued-looking gnome woman is shaking her head decisively at a caravan leader who looks dismayed. The air is ringing with shouts, horses neighing, the clattering of wagons and the strident calls of a rooster presiding over the chicken coop attached to one side of the inn.

Here's the Discord invite.

Once you have joined the server, I'll ping the server admin to get you into the proper channel.

Thank you for playing!

Cleric/oracle of an Eldest? Intriguing idea. Personally, I'd be mindful of making too tragic of a character though, so if you are going with a warlock-style pact, there should be a great benefit for Orlund. Otherwise, the ones you listed and Count Ranalc would all make good patrons.

We'll figure something our for GM Stargin's build, perhaps a general feat at level 2 instead of a dedication feat? Open to ideas here.

In terms of deadline for finalizing builds, let's say end of this week, if that works for everyone. You can jump into the gameplay thread before then to meet the rest of the group and introduce your characters.

Welcome to the new players!

Please start thinking what brings your characters to either Restov (or its vicinities), or to the Stolen Lands, and what could be your hook for joining the Fae Pack.

If you haven't had time to read the gameplay thread, here's a tl;dr:

All of the original members of the Fae Pack have some sort of connection to the fey, and have been summoned to the First World and given a secret mission to establish a fey-friendly domain in the Stolen Lands. There are other fey factions, at least one of which is actively opposing the faction backing our adventurers.

Directed to Restov, the Fae Pack survived a night-time attack and assassination attempt at Lady Jamandi Aldori's manor and received a provisional charter to deal with banditry in the Greenbelt. The recommended starting point is Oleg's Trading Post.

The party has just left Restov and is heading west towards Nivatka's Crossing, a village along the road towards the Stolen Lands, on the border of Brevoy.

@Kubular: since House Surtova's original holdings are around Port Ice, I think a bastard name would be something like Snow, Ice, or Lake.

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Hi everyone, thank you for your submissions!

I would like to invite Simeon, GM Stargin and Kubular to the discussion thread to finalize their characters.

We seem to have two concepts submitted by new applicants, if anyone has thoughts about either the characters or the players please PM me. I'll give it a couple of days, and if there are no objections I will invite the two players with a finished concept to the game.

Let's say an additional 1 gp per horse for saddle, harness and feed for a week.

Outside Lady Jamandi's manor, the city of Restov is bustling and the rumours are flying. The fae pack stops to buy a few supplies ahead of their long journey, and they find that Lady Jamandi's name opens many doors, despite their group's... eclectic appearance.

I strongly recommend buying horses or ponies, it will make all travel so much faster.

By mid-afternoon, they are ready to leave the city through the western gate and set out on the road that follows the Shrike River to Nivatka's Crossing and then towards New Stetven and beyond. Oleg's Trading Post is somewhere along this road.

As they pass the Green Thread, the inn outside Restov, a grey blur descends from a tree to glide towards Halrod, flapping its wings once before settling awkwardly on his shoulders, wings half-unfurled for balance and its beaked head resting on the top of the warrior's own. Flutterkins blinks slowly at everyone from her perch. Valerie watches the creature warily, Amiri bursts out into laughter, and Linzi is immediately enamored. The images and feelings that Halrod perceives from the owlcat are a jumble of anxiety about the big stone buildings of the city, relief at seeing the elf pack again, and snack-related hopefulness.

Late in the day as it is, they won't make it to Nivatka's Crossing before nightfall, but they might camp beside the road.

Hello again!

A few of our players have dropped out or are otherwise tied up with real life commitments, so we would like to welcome one or two more members to the Fae Pack™.

Current members are:
- Halrod, ranged fighter
- Lani, witch
- Nidintu-Bel, melee fighter
- Roots-Sink-Deep, spellcasting storm druid

This is a campaign where knowledge and face skills play a major role, so please keep that in mind when submitting your character. Also, please read the first post carefully and take note of the fey-themed aspect.

Looking forward to your submissions!

No worries, Halrod, life comes first. Hope things improve for you!

Thank you for the reminder, I talked to Phoebe's player last night, and while they would like to rejoin the game at some point, right now they are very busy.

I am leaning towards recruiting one or two additional players, if you know anyone who would be a good fit please point them my way. I will do some asking around in my Pathfinder Discord servers as well.

Celebrating the battle:
Amiri raises her mug as Nidintu-Bel finishes his story. "That baron sounds impressive, I'd love to test my strength against such as him!" Her expression sours at the mention of Tartuccio. "I wanted to kick that gnome in the head during the feast, I won't lie. Such an annoying little gnat." She makes 'talk-talk-talk' motions with her free hand.

Once the last charter is handed out, Lady Jamandi smiles tiredly. "There is still a lot of work to do in the aftermath of last night's attack, and I encourage you not to linger, in case the Black Tears - or whoever hired them - make another attempt. I wish you the best of luck in your travels and your endeavours."

As it becomes clear the partitioning of the Stolen Lands has been done with no thought of his illustrious personage, Tartuccio jumps to his feet, then climbs on a bench. His posture and expression are a picture of indignation as he sputters out. "And what about me?! Do I not receive one of these charters? I, the illustrious, incomparable, inimitable Tartuccio, with an unblemished lineage and astounding intellect?"

The Lord Mayor of Restov clears his throat, interrupting the gnome's ranting. "Master Tartuccio, please. As, hm, incomparable your skills undoubtedly are, how will you pacify a region and establish a settlement on your own? Be reasonable, sir."

"Reasonable? I am the very definition of reasonable! Ohhh, yes, I see how it is, first you call all heroes to explore and tame the Stolen Lands, but when a worthy one finally appears you change the rules! Ohhh no, this will not stand!" He sweeps the hall with his gaze, landing on the few would-be adventurers who are still lingering. "You! This is your best chance to make something of yourselves, under my benevolent and magnificent direction! They say one person alone cannot do all this, so it seems that I need minions! You will be well recompensed, I assure you!"

A few of the lone adventurers avert their gaze, shaking their heads, but some of the others raise their hands - about a half-dozen in all. Harrim grumbles into his beard for a bit before standing up as well. "I don't see why not, all these endeavours are futile in the end, but you seem a learned man at least. Perhaps there is some wisdom to gain in your company." Jaethal nods a silent assent to Tartuccio's proposal.

At another table, Amiri snorts. "You're fools to follow this bag of hot air. I'd rather join those who have proved themselves in battle!" She grabs her gear to come stand next to the fae pack. Valerie also approaches, giving the group a closed fist salute. "I owe you my life, so if you would have me then I would like to come along and try to repay that debt." Linzi pipes up, "Oh, and you will definitely need a chronicler to write down all your extraordinary future exploits! You are true heroes in the making, which means that once I join you I am a famous bard in the making!"

Amiri, Linzi and Valerie have expressed their interest/wish/desire to join your group. Harrim and Jaethal have thrown in their lot with Tartuccio.

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Amiri and Harrim don't wait to be asked twice to share a drink, but Valerie politely declines. Harrim drinks only one tankard, all the while looking like he would like another. At first, Amiri is disappointed that it was not she who killed the other two giants, then laughs in disbelief as she hears that Roots-Sink-Deep did most of the work on Vragnar.

"The little green one? I'll be damned!"

Lady Jamandi smiles tiredly at Lani. "Fortunately, the assassins didn't make it to the upper floors, and some of the adventurers had lodgings elsewhere. Come noon, we shall see how many remain and are still willing to embark on this journey."

Before then, the fae pack's reward is delivered to their quarters, a pouch of fifty gold pieces and two small vials. Lesser healing potions

At noon, everyone gathers in the Great Hall, where the manor staff have done their best to restore the space to what it was before the attack. However, blood stains are still faintly visible on the floor, and there are less tables and benches - not all furniture survived its brief role as barricade, it seems.

As both the manor's guests and the other adventurers take seats at the tables, the Great Hall fills up, although there are far fewer of them than there were the night before, and the atmosphere is hushed and somber as Lady Jamandi steps up to speak.

"I would like to thank those of you who helped defeat the Black Tears last night," she begins. "It seems that someone doesn't like our plans to settle the Stolen Lands. Well, we're not so easily dissuaded, are we?" She places her left hand on the pommel of her dueling sword, sheathed at her side. "No, we are not. Today I will issue formal charters to all of you to begin exploring the Stolen Lands and make them safe for tomorrow's settlers."

Fists and boots thump in response to the resolve shown, and even a faint cheer sounds here and there, quickly silenced by the glares of the others.

"The first charter goes to the group called the Iron Wraiths," Lady Jamandi continues, waving towards the four well-armoured adventurers. "The tales of your exploits have thrilled many Brevic nobles, and I am excited to see what you can do with the exploration of the Glenebon Uplands. Your charter is to establish a base for Brevoy there after dealing with the Tiger Lords, and then to open diplomatic relations with Pitax from a point of strength."

The four Iron Wraiths make their way up to receive their charters, looking neither left nor right. Their leader salutes Lady Jamandi Aldori, then strides out of the Great Hall with the same unwavering focus as murmurs and whispers spread out among the adventurers still seated. Amiri snorts at the mention of the Tiger Lords.

"Baron Hannis Drelev, as per our previous discussions your charter is one of specific importance for Brevoy. Secure the southern trade routes along the East Sellen River and establish a base for merchant caravans and barges alike. Hooktongue Slough will be your base of operations."

A dour-looking nobleman takes his charter from Lady Jamandi with a simple nod, then walks from the room with a faint sneer on his face. She gestures towards a figure that was seated at the fae pack's table the previous night, the handsome man dressed in silver-trimmed blacks who carried a sword bearing a crest.

"Maegar Varn, your father Androth has long been a faithful friend. Your charter assigns you to Nomen Heights, to establish a town with the Varnling Host. In time, we hope to found an Aldori dueling school there, but in the more immediate future we ask you to broker an alliance with the Nomen centaurs who roam the region. I trust that you and your fellows are up to the task!"

Maegar Varn walks up to accept his charter, pausing by the fae pack's table for a smile and a quick word. "Once you get settled, I would love to have you come visit so we can set up trade relations!" As he takes his charter, a group of about half a dozen people all wearing the same black cloaks embroidered with a large silver "V" on the back rise to follow him out of the Great Hall - likely they are part of this Varnling Host that Lady Jamandi mentioned.

"Now, to last night's heroes." Jamandi Aldori turns to the fae pack. "First, I want to thank you again for risking your lives to help defend the manor. The courage, skill and resourcefulness you displayed will take you far, I expect! For your charter, we are asking you to travel to the southwest into the region known as the Greenbelt, a swath of wildlands that includes the forest known as the Narmarches and the hill country of the Kamelands. We have heard that bandits have grown particularly aggressive in that area, and they need to be stopped before anyone safely settles in the region. A small trading post in the Rostland hinterlands has been particularly hard hit - I suggest starting there. Once the bandits have been dealt with, we will be ready to bequeath you more permanent charters to settle the land and establish a government of your own."

The charter reads:

"Be it known
that the bearer of this charter has been charged by the Swordlords of Restov, acting upon the greater good and authority vested within them by the office of the Lord-Mayor of Restov, the right of exploration and travel within the wilderness regions known as Restov's Hinterlands and the Greenbelt.

Exploration should be limited to an area west and south of Oleg's Trading Post, no further than the banks of the Shrike and Skunk Rivers. The carrier of this charter should strive against banditry and other unlawful behaviour to be encountered. The punishment for unrepentant banditry remains, as always, execution by sword or rope.

So witnessed on this 24th day of Calistril, under watchful eye of the Lordship of Restov."

Nidintu-Bel wrote:
Nidintu-Bel bows his head in thanks to the sword-wielding noble. "My thanks, Lady Jamandi. Unfortunately, of the adventurers gathered here on the first floor, we have only found thirteen alive. With the Black Tears driven away, I would be glad to aid you in whatever work needs to be done for the restoration of the manor's defenses."

Her jaw tightens at the grim news, but she nods curtly. "I am very grateful for your assistance, and your resilience so far. I will not turn away offers of help, so let us regroup in the Great Hall." She nods at the bodies of the fallen Black Tears. "Help yourselves to any gear you find useful. What is left we will put to good use, most likely sell it to raise money for the widows and orphans of those who have lost their lives tonight."

Treasure: Leader: chain shirt, +1 greataxe, 4 lesser healing potions, jade and pearl necklace (20 gp), silver ring (30 gp), tracker's goggles. Thugs (x4): lesser healing potions, dagger, hand crossbow (10 bolts), studded leather armor; 26 sp between them.

For the rest of the night, and the better part of the morning, the surviving would-be heroes assist Lady Jamandi's staff and guards in rounding up the remaining Black Tears, securing the prisoners, putting out the fires and tending to the wounded and the dead. A few hours after dawn, the situation is more or less under the control. Engineers from Restov have arrived to survey the fire damage and plan repairs, and the mayor has sent several of his own staff to assist with the clean-up.

Word reaches the fae pack that a convocation is planned at noon in the Great Hall, to conclude that for which everyone has gathered here - the granting of the charters to the Stolen Lands.

Anything you want to do before then, or if you want to rest, let me know.

Vragnar catches Nidintu-Bel's maul with his free hand as his gaze flickers past the fighter to Roots-Sink-Deep.

"A child? It is very irresponsible of you to let a child play with lightning!" the giant admonishes, then as the electricity courses through him again he spasms, letting go of the tielfing's weapon as he slowly topples face-down on the floor.

Reflex save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8

Combat over!

Lady Jamandi lets out a burst of breathless laughter. "Ha-haa! That was well fought. Thank you for your help, it will not go unrewarded." She turns the body of the Black Tears leader over with her boot, frowning. "With their leader dead, we can now focus on securing the manor, putting out the fires and tending to the wounded."

Nidintu-Bel brings down his maul in an overhead arc that takes the Black Tears leader in the shoulder with an audible crunch. She buckles, falling to her knees, and then topples face down on the floor.

Vragnar watches her fall, his eyes darting about as he seeks a target, or escape.

Reflex save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Target selection, from top to bottom: 1d3 ⇒ 3

Incensed by the continuous zapping from Roots-Sink-Deep, the giant stomps towards the leshy, pulling his arm behind for a powerful spear stab.

"I. Told. You. To. STOP!"

Strike: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19 Damage: 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Demoralize: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13

Phoebe gasps in shock as the giant attacks her companion, hurling a discarded helmet at Vragnar.

Spell attack: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25 Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5

Round summary: Vragnar -42 HP, Lady Jamandi -4 HP, Roots -13 HP. Everyone is up!

Congratulations! Hope she grows up happy and healthy!

Reflex save leader: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
Reflex save giant: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Will save leader: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16

The leshy's magic pricks the two again, and the distraction helps Lani's spell take root into the leader's mind, leaving her dazed for a moment. Or perhaps she is thinking of a suitable retort to Nidintu's rebuff.

Vragnar seems to have had enough of being electrically harassed, and yells towards Root-Sink-Deep. "Stop that, you tiny man!" Taking a step back so he can have a little cover from the leshy, he renews his attacks on Lady Jamandi, who dances out of the way again.

Nidintu AoO: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Vragnar strike #1: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29
Vragnar strike #2: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23

The Black Tears leader shakes her head sharply, refocusing on the task at hand. "Aye, you want a part in this? Then prepare to share her ladyship's fate!" The last is said mockingly, as if she doesn't respect Lady Jamandi's authority in the slightest.

Overhand smash vs. Nidintu: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14

Haldor looses more arrows, this time targeting the giant. One of his shots lands, pricking Vragnar's muscular thigh.

Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 1st Shot: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 2nd Shot: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 181d8 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

Round summary: Everyone is rolling badly! Vragnar -33 HP, Black Tears leader -43 HP, Lady Jamandi -4 HP. Everyone is up!

Reflex save leader: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Reflex save giant: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21

Halrod sends a hail of arrows towards the Black Tears leader, careful not to hit Lady Jamandi.

Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 1st Shot: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 241d8 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5 hit
Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 2nd Shot: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 81d8 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4 miss

Phoebe sends another spark of electricity between the two foes. Damage: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Reflex save leader: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Giant Reflex save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8

The giant looks in confusion at Nidintu-Bel. "Jurgrindor? Alive? How can it be, that he is alive and you are not dead?" His expression shifts into one of rage. "You lie! He is dead as well!" Vragnar renews his attacks on Lady Jmandi, bellowing in fury and pain, but she dodges all his strikes.

Attack #1: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25 Attack #2: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17 Attack #3: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19

"Damnit! She is slipperier than a buttered otter!" the leader swears as she lifts her axe up high again, only for her opponent to dodge her blows as well. Lady Jamandi retaliates with lightning-quick attacks, carving bloody lines across the other woman's body - aiming to disable, rather than kill. The Black Tears leader spares a venomous glare to Nidintu-Bel in response to his insults and threats. "Vragnar! I am not telling you again! Kill these interlopers and leave Jamandi to me!"

Overhand smash: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15 Strike: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23

Round summary: Vragnar -21 HP, Black Tears leader -35 HP, Lady Jamandi -4 HP. Everyone is up!

Botting Phoebe

Advancing cautiously, Phoebe sends a spark flying at the giant and the assassin leader, a spark which blooms into a small arc of electricity that zaps both of them.

Reflex save giant: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Reflex save leader: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
electric arc damage: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5

"Fools! I'll kill you as soon as I finish here!" the leader hisses through clenched teeth, grasping her greataxe with both hands as she brings it down in an overhead swing. "Vragnar, get them!"

Smash: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25 Attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

Lady Jamandi sidesteps the overhead attack and ducks under the follow-up sweep. Vragnar's face is screwed up in an expression of grief and rage as he stares at his fallen brother.

"NO! SHE DIES!" the giant bellows, raising his spear and bringing it down with tremendous force, but he is too slow for the agile Aldori duelist. Frustrated, he roars out a wordless shout, his breath misting in the air.

Giant attack: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (8) + 12 = 20 Giant attack: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Chill breath: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 4) = 9
Jamandi reflex save: 1d20 + 27 ⇒ (10) + 27 = 37

Round summary: Vragnar -11 HP, leader -5 HP, Jamandi -4 HP. Everyone is up!

Lani enhances Halrod's weapon with her magic, and the warrior repositions to have a clean line of sight at the giant and the Black Tears leader. Unfortunately, none of his shots land.

Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 1st Shot: 1d20 + 8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 8 + 1 = 132d8 + 2 ⇒ (2, 4) + 2 = 8
Additional damage on Critical Hit: 1d10 ⇒ 10

Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 2nd Shot: 1d20 + 3 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 3 + 1 = 132d8 + 2 ⇒ (4, 2) + 2 = 8
Additional damage on Critical Hit: 1d10 ⇒ 9

Nidintu-Bel rushes to strike the remaining giant, stepping over the corpse of his brother, but the huge club comes up to block the blow.

Eager to not miss any detail of this epic fight, Linzi hurries into the vast dueling chamber, her small fist pumping the air. "Only two of them left! Hit him harder, Nidintu!"

Inspire courage from Linzi, +1 status bonus to attacks, damage rolls and saves against fear.

Reflex save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12

The miniature lightning strikes the giant, who roars in pain as his muscles seize up. 11 damage and Clumsy 2.

Phoebe can still act this round.

Botting the rest of the party.

The Black Tear cutthroat that Nidintu is trying to menace simply smirks before loading a fresh bolt. His smirk fades somewhat as Nidintu's first blow sweeps his colleague clean off his feet, crunching powerfully into his ribs. The warrior times the momentum of his backswing to take out another one of the thugs, and suddenly there is no comforting wall of flesh between him and the smirking assailant - who seems to be reconsidering his life choices.

Reflex green, yellow: 2d20 ⇒ (12, 6) = 18 3 damage to green, 6 damage to yellow
Will yellow: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12

Lani sends a little jolt of mental magic that finishes off one of the crossbow-wielding Black Tears before the man has a chance to fire his weapon. The lone remaining thug begins to cast desperate looks around, before an arrow from Halrod takes him in the chest.

Halrod's attacks:
Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 1st Shot: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 151d8 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Additional damage on Critical Hit: 1d10 ⇒ 4

Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 2nd Shot: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 121d8 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Additional damage on Critical Hit: 1d10 ⇒ 8

Rapier, 1st Strike: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 131d6 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Additional damage on Critical Hit: 1d8 ⇒ 7

Phoebe soothes Nidintu's injuries. HP healed: 1d10 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10

With the rank-and-file Black Tears dispatched, the fae pack is free to come to the aid of Lady Jamandi, now fighting both the remaining giant and the assassin leader.

Everyone is up!

Botting Halrod a bit

Halrod steps to the north for a better line of sight, and aims his bow at the leader. The woman begins sprinting towards Lady Jamandi, shrugging off the leshy's spell and barely paying attention to the arrows that whistle around her.

Lady Jamandi moves behind the frost giant who had fallen to his knees, passing the edge of her sword across his throat and spinning around just in time to block the clumsy attack from the woman's greataxe. One giant down.

Meanwhile, the four Black Tears thugs move towards the fae pack, two of them with knives drawn and the others wielding crossbows. They engage Nidintu-Bel and Roots-Sink-Deep, scoring a few hits.

Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 1st Shot: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 101d8 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Additional damage on Critical Hit: 1d10 ⇒ 9
Longbow w/Point-Blank Stance, 2nd Shot: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 161d8 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Additional damage on Critical Hit: 1d10 ⇒ 3
Leader reflex save: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18 half damage
Leader strike: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12
Orange vs. Nidintu: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16 miss
Blue vs. Roots: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24 Damage: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Green vs. Nidintu: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25 Damage: 1d6 ⇒ 5
Green vs. Nidintu: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7 miss
Yellow vs. Roots: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25 Damage: 1d6 ⇒ 3
Yellow vs. Roots: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8 miss

Round summary: Black tears leader -1 HP, one dead giant, Nidintu -5 HP, Roots -8 HP.

Judging by the sounds coming from beyond the western doors, the giants are indeed not far. As Roots-Sink-Deep swings them open, both Thurvulf and Vragnar are visible, facing off against Lady Jamandi Aldori herself. The recessed area in the center of the floor and the racks filled with practice blades and padded armour that line the walls indicate this enormous room to be a dueling practice space. Bodies litter the floor - manor guards, Black Tear cutthroats, and two ogres.

The huge maul wielded by one of the frost giants whooshes through the air to come crashing on the flagstones where Lady Jamandi had been only a fraction of a moment ago, cracking the stone and sending splinters and dust flying. Light on her feet, the famed swordswoman shifts her balance, pivots, and brings her flaming dueling sword in a horizontal cut across the back of the giant's legs, neatly hamstringing him. As he buckles and falls to his knees with a resounding thud, she deftly sidesteps the stabbing spear of the second giant.

The door to the southwest bursts open, and five Black Tears come rushing through. One of them is a red-haired woman, wearing a long, black coat over chainmail and wielding an axe.

"That's their leader! Hold them off while I deal with these two!" shouts Lady Jamandi.

Initiative rolls:
5d20 ⇒ (15, 9, 8, 20, 5) = 57
V: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
BT: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20

initiative order, bold can act: Roots, Halrod, BT leader, BT thugs, Lani, Nidintu, Phoebe.

Of course Phoebe can rejoin!

@Tarondor, enjoy GenCon, and best of luck to your wife with the delivery!

Roots-Sink-Deep opens the door, taking a peek into the room beyond. The first thing the leshy notices are the trophy heads hanging on the wall - a stag with an impressive set of antlers, a large tusked boar, an impossibly large owl, a snarling wolf, and two reptilian creatures.

Double doors are set in the western wall, and a smaller door opens to the south into the armoury that was previously investigated by Roots-Sink-Deep.

4d20 ⇒ (13, 5, 19, 20) = 57

Lani is a little distracted, but everyone else notices a leather cord hanging out of the mouth of one of the reptilian heads. Pulling on it reveals that it is attached to a bloodseeker beak talisman. It is anyone's guess how it ended up there.

Treasure: bloodseeker beak talisman.

Feel free to rework your characters into something that is more enjoyable for you, if that is what you would like.

Another option is to DMPC one of the numerous companions to fill in anything the party might be missing mechanically. Personally, I enjoy running with larger, diverse parties. I was thinking about adding another player for a total of 5 (or 6, if Phoebe returns).

Let me know what you all think, I currently have another recruitment in progress for my other campaign, but that one should conclude shortly.

Also, I want to apologize for my absences and slowness lately. It has been a time of great upheaval and betrayal at work, so I have been distracted (and, honestly, pretty checked out of everything). I have put in my notice and I'm not in a hurry to find another job, so hopefully I will have more time and energy to dedicate to my games. On the other hand, there will be more short breaks as my partner and I are scouting the country for a potential future home base (read, buying a house).

Jaethal's skin is very cold to the touch, despite heat from the nearby fires. The pale elf woman breaks off contact as soon as her hands are free, quickly gathering her dark robe around her.

"My thanks. I will make my way to the Great Hall, as I am unarmed and likely would not be of much assistance to you." Jaethal hesitates. "I... could not sleep, so I took a midnight walk to try to clear my head. I am afraid that I dozed off on this sofa. I shall not be so careless in the future."

She bends to rip off a piece of the leader's cloak, tying it around her nose and mouth before slipping out of the room.

Now that they have more time to examine their surroundings, the fae pack notice a second door leading out of the parlor, also on the south wall.

The leader's sneer flickers into confusion, then disbelief, as the force of Nidintu-Bel's blow hammers through his attempt at evading it, lifting him off his feet with an audible *CRUNCH* as his chest is caved in. He stumbles to the floor in a twitching heap that soon goes still, blood trickling out of the corner of his mouth.

Will save, if Lani shifts targets: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15

The remaining thug gapes at the swiftness and brutality of the attack on his leader, his dagger slipping from his suddenly nerveless fingers and clattering to the floor.

Combat over!

Reflex save: 2d20 + 7 ⇒ (16, 1) + 7 = 24

One of the thugs manages to avoid the leshy's magic, but the other is badly burned by it, his clothes smoking and his hair standing on end as if he had been struck by lightning. His eyes go wide and he clutches at his chest with his free hand before falling backwards to thud on the carpet.

Additional damage: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7

The leader snarls as he plucks two daggers from his bandolier and throws them at Nidintu-Bel before circling the game table. Luckily, the warrior ducks low and the blades stab deep into the door frame instead.

Strike 1: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
Strike 2: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12

Nidintu and Lani are up!

Two Black Tears thugs whirl around at Nidintu-Bel's loud entrance, reaching for their weapons. The room they are in seems to be a parlour, with several padded chairs, a comfortable-looking pair of couches, several side tables and a finely crafted game table.

On one of the couches lies jaethal, the pale elf that was seated at the fae pack's table during the feast. Her hands seem to be bound behind her back, and several coils of rope further bind her form as she stares coldly at her interrogator.

The fourth presence in the room is clearly different from the Black Tears they have encountered so far, although the same tattoo under his left eye marks his allegiance. He wears shades of brown rather than black, including a rough cloak with a high collar, and wields two long, curiously curved blades, the tip of one resting under Jaethal's chin. As he turns towards the door, at least four more knives are visible on him, in sheaths attached to wide leather straps that crisscross his body. He pulls down the black cloth covering the lower half of his face, one corner of his mouth twitching.

"Tsk. Persistent as cockroaches, I see." His voice is gravelly and raspy, a rough sound that grates on the ears. "How is it that you live, when better people than you found their end this night? No matter, you will not vex us for much longer."

With a practiced, smooth move, he flicks his blades, twirling them and aiming their points at the intruders. The two thugs rush forward, one of them circling the game table to flank Nidintu-Bel.

Fae pack initiative: 4d20 ⇒ (15, 2, 1, 6) = 24
Thugs, leader, Linzi initiative: 3d20 ⇒ (20, 2, 17) = 39

Orange Strike vs. Nidintu, AC 16: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18 Damage: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Orange Strike vs. Nidintu: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12
Purple Strike vs. Nidintu: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Purple Strike vs. Nidintu: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18 Damage: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

Linzi balls her fists, shouting through the door. "You are the cockroaches! And you will be squashed accordingly, you'll see!"

Inspire courage from Linzi, everyone has +1 to attack and damage rolls for 1 round.

Initiative order, bold may act: Black Tears thugs, Linzi, Halrod, Roots, leader, Lani, Nidintu.

Statuses: Inspire Courage - All
Nidintu-Bel: flat-footed, -7 HP.

I have been thinking about reopening recruitment as well - what do you all think?

To the south

Roots-Sink-Deep opens the south door into a slightly smoky room that contains wooded weapon racks and wooden stands intended to hold suits of armour. Many of the racks and stands are empty, with several weapons and discarded armour pieces, all of them bearing Lady Jamandi's crest, lying about on the floor.

Treasure: 11 daggers, 5 longswords, 10 spears, 2 glaives, 1 halberd, 2 battle axes, 6 crossbows, a barrel containing a little over 100 crossbow bolts, 3 suits of half-plate, 10 suits of chain mail armour, 3 chain shirts, 5 steel shields.

To the north

Meanwhile, Nidintu-Bel listens at the northern door, and can hear vague, muffled voices in the room beyond.

Tartuccio sneers at Nidintu-Bel. "Oh yes, I would expect nothing less from a bootlicker like you. Too bad you're not smart enough to know which boots are the right ones." He marches back to the sofa, throwing himself on it with a petulant expression. "Very well, if you will not escort me to safety I will wait here for better-disposed heroes."

Two doors lead out of the gallery, one to the north and one to the south.

Tartuccio jerks as he is first poked by Lani, then stumbled upon by Roots-Sink-Deep. "A-a-ah! Watch your step, you fashion-challenged oafs!" The gnome sputters and coughs as he climbs to his feet, then staggers to one of the padded sofas, where he collapses dramatically. Linzi raises an eyebrow at the theatrical display.

"Ah! My loyal henchmen! I knew that you would come to save me from this indignity!" He pulls out a finely embroidered handkerchief from his breast pocket and pats his forehead, leaving sooty marks on the fabric. "Well! Let us go now, before those indescribable brutes return. Come, step lively now!" He hops off the sofa and begins heading towards the doors leading back into the hallway and towards the Great Hall.

The fae pack advances swiftly towards the far end of the corridor, the double doors of the Great Hall slamming shut behind them. The first two doors they pass on the left have burned in their stone frames, and now the raging flames inside the rooms are spreading outwards. The tapestries lining the walls of the hallway are smoldering, and some of them are already burning.

The first opening on the right has no door at all, only an arch leading into some kind of small temple, a marble statue of an armored half-elf woman standing on a stone dais at the far end. The air inside seems less choking, although still smoky.

At the end of the hallway, the doors are still untouched by fire, although the brass knob is hot under Nidintu's touch. Opening the door reveals a finely furnished art gallery, with two cushioned sofas framing a door leading west and several padded chairs positioned to offer a good view of the exhibits - oil paintings hanging on the walls and shelves bearing small sculptures and ceramic pieces. The air is smoky, but relatively clear - at least compared to the hallway.

As Nidintu enters, he almost stumbles over a small humanoid who lies sprawled on the thick burgundy carpet near the doors; those who have interacted with him at the feast, particularly Lani, recognize him as the gnome arcanist Tartuccio.

Most of the fae pack follows Nidintu into the west wing of the manor, with only Clementine electing to stay behind and help out the survivors. Linzi follows as well, eager to witness the events despite the dangers.

5d20 ⇒ (20, 7, 3, 5, 18) = 53

Halrod and Phoebe remember that the best way to protect oneself from the harmful inhalation of smoke is to wrap a wet cloth around the mouth and nose. Thus, after a few moments, everyone is as prepared as they can be to face the blaze on the other side of the doors.

The guards shift the barricade just enough for the fae pack to pass, then unbar the doors and pull one open to allow passage beyond. A cloud of roiling smoke billows into the Great Hall, orange sparks winking in and out of existence as they are borne along.

Beyond the doors lies a smoke-filled corridor heading north-west. Flickering flames mark open doorways on either side.

Map updated.

Apologies for my absence, I was on holiday and after that I got swamped with catching up at work. I will post today.

So sorry to hear, Tarondor, please be well and take care. Recovery can't be rushed, so take your time.

Lieutenant Ivenzi's eyes narrow as he listens to Nidintu-Bel's report. "An exceptional summary. You former military, son?" Not waiting for a response, the lieutenant signals a couple of the guards to break down the eastern barricade, while others are sent into the eastern wing.

"Wylla, Sten - check for survivors and apprehend any assassins still alive." A muscle twitches along the side of his jaw as he tamps down on his rage and grief. "We will look to our dead later, once the living are out of danger."[b]

He turns his attention to the elven warrior. [b]"We currently control the mechanism for the portcullises, so that is one point in our favour. Did you say you wanted to head into the west wing? If so, your help there would be appreciated. Lady Jamandi took a squad there to try and clear the wing. If you do go, be careful, as the hallway and several of the guest rooms are currently ablaze, but the rooms further west should still be safe."

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